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Need to Know: Meriweather still recovering from ACL

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Need to Know: Meriweather still recovering from ACL

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 2, six days before the Redskins open their preseason against the Titans.

Don’t worry about Meriweather--yet

The Redskins have had seven days of training camp practices and Brandon Meriweather has participated in very few of them. Although the starting strong safety often dresses in pads, he usually can be found in an area off to the side called the drill field, working out with other walking wounded such as Donte Stallworth (hamstring), and Chris Thompson (knee).

Meriweather is still recovering from the torn ACL that ended his year early after a number of other knee issues forced his season to start late. That ACL injury occurred in the Redskins’ Week 11 game on November 18. If you do the math you have a recovery period so far of about eight and a half months.

The “normal” rehab period for a torn ACL is seven to nine months. It seems that Robert Griffin III will be recovered from his knee injury in closer to seven months while Meriweather needs more like the high end of the recovery range.

“When a guy practices, you have a gut feeling of what he can do as you watch him in individual drills and team drills,” said Shanahan yesterday. “He is not ready to go in team situations yet . . . Right now, he is still getting individual work. We are still running him but we are not going to put him in team situations until we feel like he is ready to compete.”

While there is some cause for concern here there is no need to panic that the team’s best option at strong safety won’t be available on opening day. The benchmark to start doing that is about nine months after the injury. The Redskins play their second preseason game against the Steelers on August 19, one day after the nine-months past the injury mark. If Meriweather can play in that game, or the key third preseason game against the Bills on August 24, he should be good to go for the opener. If he misses both of those games, there will be some doubt.

There are more than five weeks to go until the Redskins’ season opener. Meriweather is close to being ready but the last stages of his rehab are taking some time. For right now, the Redskins have the luxury of that time but in a couple of weeks it will be running very, very short.

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Today’s schedule (all practices open to the public at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center)

10:00—Walkthrough practice, players available to media coming off the field

After walkthrough (approx. 11:30)—News conference with player TBA

3:20—Full practice, players available to media coming off the field

5:30 (approx.)—Mike Shanahan news conference

Can the Redskins reverse fortunes in the secondary?

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Days until: Redskins @ Titans preseason opener 6; Final cuts 29; Redskins @ Cowboys 72

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IMO, if Thompson can be practicing in time for PITT preseason game and can stay healthy, he'll have a good shot. Later or relapse, iffy.

— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) August 1, 2013

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

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